Saving The Day: 4 Common Healer Traits

Healers are a rare breed in World of Warcraft. Despite what can be a thankless job, some people are just drawn to the role. But why is that? What common traits bind us healers together?

1. A need to fix things. It’s human nature to want to fix what’s broken, but in real life we sometimes miss the mark.

I wanted so badly to be able to fix my baby girl; to take away everything that was wrong with her immune system so she could smile and play and live her life, but there was nothing I could do to fix her. And after she was gone, I realized there were a lot of things I couldn’t fix.

But healers can fix damn near everything in WoW. If the tank doesn’t pop their cooldowns, the healer can fix it. If the DPS takes hits they shouldn’t, the healer can fix it. And if someone dies, the healer can fix that, too.

2. A need to help. Healers are the nurses, the teachers, the counselors. They love helping other people, and they love the gratification that comes from being able to make a difference in someone else’s life.

For me, being a helper means making more money so I can give to those who need it. Before my daughter lost her battle with Aplastic Anemia, a generous couple gave my husband and I a check to cover our living expenses for several months. In honor of that generosity, I started a non-profit foundation in memory of my daughter that helps other struggling families.

In WoW, the healer is a support role; the ultimate helper. Aside from the pure mechanic of healing, they provide buffs and other spells to help the group. In a raid setting there’s only one role that can lift the weight off everyone else’s shoulders: The healer.

3. A need to feel needed. Everyone wants to feel like they have some reason for existing on this planet. For some people, this is accomplished by the feeling of being needed.

I don’t think I really knew what it was like to feel needed until my children were born. You can’t tell your children you just don’t feel like taking care of them today. They are completely dependent upon you, to the point that everything you do – or don’t do – has an impact on their lives.

When you’re a healer, your teammates become your children. You can’t suddenly decide you don’t feel like healing today, because they need you to accomplish their goals. And though they may frustrate and exhaust you, it’s still rewarding to know that you have a place with them.

4. A need to save the day. “Saving the day” means different things to different people. Sometimes it’s coming through with a big project at work. Sometimes it’s picking up my boy from school and then taking him to Disneyland, just because. Sometimes it’s the simple act of offering someone a friendly smile.

Saving the day, to me, means having compassion and recognizing that not everyone in the world is an asshole. Sure, the guy who cut me off might be an entitled jerk, but he might also be rushing his daughter to the hospital or trying to get home from a bad day. My being calm and understanding gives him one less thing to worry about.

In WoW, saving the day takes on a much bigger meaning. It’s everything we love, just scaled up. As healers we really do get the chance to turn a bad situation completely around by saving the group from a wipe with timely heals.

Do you identify with these four needs common to healers? Do you have something else you want to add to the list?

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12 Responses
  1. Erinys says:

    My reasons for always playing a healer are slightly different, although I can identify in part with those you list.
    Control. I need to be in control and healing is the role best suited to that. If I die, it’s usually because of a mistake I made and whist I hate that, it is at least my fault. When I’m playing a tank and to a certain degree a dpser, I have to trust someone else. That makes me uncomfortable.

    • Lilpeanut says:

      Erinys, I can totally see how you’d feel that way. I decided to play a healer because of death after death after death as a hunter in PvP. I thought, “If the fucking healers were doing their jobs…” Back then, (ya’ll call it Vanilla, I still call it Pre-BC), there weren’t very many healers, so it wasn’t fair of me to blame that ONE healer watching over all 10-15 of us. Let me preface the rest with a caveat: My response is based on my personal experiences only, so take it for what it’s worth. 🙂 I also feel that I have control, to a certain degree, but I don’t always feel that as healers we control who dies and who doesn’t. Yes, we heal all things and without us our fellow players would perish. But I can’t always control who I’m grouped with. I can’t control a tank who isn’t doing his job properly or the fact that he came into a heroic totally under geared. Healing that particular tank through boss fights is cutting it mighty close. I can’t control that dpser who continually stands in the fire, is lowest in dps so takes lowest priority and thus dies. I can’t control peeps who have gone out of LoS or out of range. Granted, if our heals were the bomb, (and in most cases they are :)), we can save those lives. But imagine if all those things happened all at once? Deaths.

      Just like in Real life, I’ve learned that nothing is in my control. Control, for me, is an illusion. Before my daughter died I thought I had control. I controlled my family unit and their well-being. But when she got sick for no reason whatsoever, I learned that I controlled nothing. When driving, I used to think I controlled my vehicle and my safety, but I don’t control the vehicle next to me, (and maybe the driver of that vehicle doesn’t, either). We cross the street. We think we control our lives… then BAM! Gone. Do we control what jobs we get? What paths we take? It’s nice to think we do. I used to be a total control freak until someone pointed that out to me and said, “Hey! You’re a major control freak and you feel you need to be in control of all outcomes. Be okay with the outcome.” Sorry… rambling!

      Thanks for contributing; I’m sure there are many other reasons why people heal… I know someone who started healing for the mere fact that she liked the outfits! 😀

  2. Michael says:

    This was an awesome read. I either heal or tank, I love the stress and thrive on pressure. DPS is sooo boring. I love how real your blog feels.

    Keep on.

    • Lilpeanut says:

      I appreciate that! Ah yes, the pressure. Oh God, the pressure! Maybe I heal because I love a little drama, too. I hadn’t thought about that before. Healing definitely keeps things exciting, keeps me on my toes, and raises my blood pressure up a few notches.

    • Wils says:

      Am heals too, holy pally, with a druid, shammy, and priest i am working on as well. Am sorry about clogging up the blog. I am between classes and can’t help myself 😀

  3. Karegina says:

    I heal because I NEED to be in control. I heal because I NEED to help and feel needed and wanted. When I was a dps, no one cared what I did (mostly because I sucked at it). When I suddenly was a healer, people tried to protect me and cheered me and loved me. Of course, when it all went wrong, I was villianified and all that. But I’m still ‘important’ and that helps. Except that I am not important and I need to remember that too.


  4. Wowopa says:

    Tanking was my role of choice for years… DPS didn’t provide much of a challenge and it was boring, really. One day, on a whim I rolled a Priest (Holy) – sure I’ve rolled them before but always deleted them before level 20 cause they died too fast (mentally still playing aggressive like a tank) Smite, Schmite… I’ll bash them with my magic-staff of suckage, heheh. Well, this time things were going to be different, I was determined to level it to cap mainly through dungeons so I can see what all this healing stuff was about… it can’t be THAT hard, right?!

    Needless to say, it was an eye-opening experience. I’ve since leveled a Resto Shammy, Resto Druid in addition to my original Holy Priest (I have yet to level a Holy Paladin… I leveled a Prot Pally and every time I try to go Holy with a new Paladin alt, I just want to get all up in the mobs face and hit them, lol). Maybe one day I’ll level a Holy Paladin… we’ll see.

    So to answer your question about WHY I became a healer… I suppose it was challenge that intrigued me and once I got started, it was the actual FUN I was having playing that role (this is a game after all, right?) I love healing and I know it has made me a better tank, so it’s a win/win.

  5. The Ancient says:

    Really enjoyed this post. I have never healed but I see I’m missing my calling as I am three for four on the traits. I recently dual specced my little druid to heal, just haven’t gotten up the nerve to do my first pug as a healer.

    A paladin asked me to heal them on the Greench the other day but I don’t think that counts!

  6. Dysmorphia says:

    The closest one for me is the need to be needed, followed closely by something you don’t mention, which is that I really enjoy the game mechanics of healing. My main is a druid and I have tried every one of the four roles in dungeons and raids. I enjoy the control of tanking, but the pressure was a bit much, as well as the challenging need of spatial awareness. Ranged DPS, at least as a moonkin, doesn’t inspire me. I do really like melee dps, but I’m not very good at it, and there’s heavy competition for melee spots. Healing is as fun to me as melee dps, AND there always seems to be a need for it. Perhaps simply because I’ve had the most practice healing, it’s the role in which I feel I contribute the most to a raid. I like to do what I’m best at.

    I used to feel that frustration-satisfaction of fixing other people’s mistakes, but that turned simply to frustration over time, particularly with the more challenging healing model at Cataclysm’s launch. Now I play with a really skilled and consistent raid group, and I don’t get that feeling any more that I’m saving the day, because no one needs saving when everyone is doing their job. A little bit of the ego is gone, but instead I feel pushed to do my best all the time because everyone else is, too. In the long run, that feels a lot more satisfying.

  7. Matticus says:

    I have trust issues. I do it because I just don’t trust the other guy healing :(.

  8. Ava Donja says:

    I take wiping a sign of personal failure. Every so often the tank is just SOOOO bad I’m able not to blame myself, but I take my healing seriously. 🙂
    When I play dps, I end up throwing out heals as well. I never could do those free-fall trust circle thingys.

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